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Portraits of Writing Masters and Mistresses

Identifier: Case Wing oversize-NE390-P67

Scope and Content of the Collection

Collection of 170 prints and manuscripts produced between 1595 and 1878, the bulk between 1650 and 1780. Most items were produced in Europe, particularly London, though France, Germany, and Holland are also well-represented. The collection includes three American items from Michigan, New Jersey, and New York. Well represented engravers and artists include George Bickham the Younger, J. Sturt, William Sherwin, and John Closterman. Print formats include intaglio, lithographs, and photoengravings, mezzotints, and electrotypes. Many portraits are engravings or etchings. Also included are woodcuts and photographs.

Most collection items are portraits of writing masters, including the female writing masters Maria Strick, Joanna Blok Koerten, and Marie Claude Violet. Well represented writing masters include Edward Cocker, Platt R. Spencer, Liven van Coppenol, Thomas Tomkins, and Jeremiah Rich. Aside from portraits, the collection also contains examples of calligraphy, including prints of microcalligraphy artwork by Johann Michael Püchler, as well as manuscript correspondence of William Rower and Ralph Snow. Also included are calligraphy samples by William Gibbon composed on sheets printed by Robert Sayer featuring decorative borders and figurative representations of vices and virtues.


  • Creation: approximately 1595 to approximately 1878
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1650 - 1780



Materials are in English, German, and French.

Conditions Governing Access

The Portraits of Writing Masters and Mistresses are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Portraits of Writing Masters and Mistresses are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.


2.2 Linear Feet (1 box and 1 oversize box)


Collection of 170 prints and manuscripts produced primarily in Europe between 1595 and 1878, the bulk of which were produced between 1650 and 1780. Most items were produced in London. The majority of items are portrait prints of writing masters and penmen, though there are also examples of writing samples, calligraphic art portraying religious scenes or theologians, as well as correspondence.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Folio, approximately 1595-1878
Box 1
Series 2: Oversize, 1605-1878
Box 2

Collection Stack Location

4 19 13


Purchased by the Newberry Library in 1969 and 2004.

Processed by

Robert Williams, 2016.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the Council on Library and Information Services, which is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Inventory of the Portraits of Writing Masters and Mistresses, approximately 1595 to approximately 1878, bulk 1650-1780
Lindsey O'Brien
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States